When it’s your third shoot in a row at this beautiful park, you know the location has got to be good! It was a warm, sunny November day. Nathanael Green was packed with people. There were multiple large groups and family gatherings. Looking around, dozens of photographers arrived with families. Today is all about Rylee. A future 2021 graduate of Kickapoo high school. Little tidbit about my past...I went to Glendale High School. Most Springfieldians know that Kickapoo and Glendale are long standing rivals ;) Rylee, no hard feelings. Back in my high school days, I was super jealous of your band. Your school dominated in that area!
The original plan was for us to start in the Japanese Stroll Gardens. Sometimes, fate has a different plan. The doors to the garden were shut. No entrance was permitted. While this was unexpected, we made the most of it. Rylee arrived with her parents and her three dogs: Buddy, Fiona, and Carley. Remember how I said fate had different plans. We literally found a location that was perfect for Rylee’s outfit. Pops of forest green to compliment her dress. We could not have created a better spot. This is where we attempted to take portraits with the dogs. Each had their own personality and ideas of how this was going to go down. Each time Fiona and Carley were ready, Buddy would wander off. Carley turned her back to the camera when Buddy and Fiona were posing. Fiona gets the most props, she was pretty go with the flow. We attempted a walking shot and before you know it, Rylee was in fits of giggle as the puppies had twisted the leashes around her legs to the point she couldn’t walk. E for effort? Right Rylee? Lol
I did make sure to get a few special photos of just Rylee and Buddy. Rylee’s mom explained that poor Buddy’s world had been turned upside down. Buddy had just recently lost his companion and their family decided to rescue Carley and Fiona. While the intention was to give Buddy some new friends, they think he was enjoying the single dog life lol
As the sun went down, it shined through the trees and created a warm orange glow over the park. Rylee and I chatted about her dreams and future plans. She’s not sure where life will send her. Her senior year has been different from her past experiences. To all seniors out there during this pandemic. My heart goes out to you! No matter what your school experience is this year, these are challenging times. Rylee has been in a hybrid model where she attends class two days a week. Throughout high school, basketball has been her passion, this is where she made her lifelong friendships. I was happy to hear she still gets a little bit of basketball this year despite everything that is going on. Rylee, I know you have thoughts on Columbia college. If you change your mind, no worries. But I do approve, one of my best friends lives up there :) Columbia is a great place!
By this time in the shoot, I had completely forgotten that the park was packed. Whoops. I confidently announced that we would take a drive down to the pond area. I was a little too overconfident Rylee! I have never seen the park this packed. We could not find a parking space!!!! Luckily we were able to snag a spot right as someone was leaving. Future note, if the park is packed. Walking might be the best bet lol P.S. Thank you to Rylee’s dad for giving me a ride down to the pond since I was less lucky finding a parking spot. Down by the pond I could hardly contain my excitement. Rylee and I got to do a confetti cap and gown shoot!! I have been dying to do this with a senior forever. The wind was a challenge. It blew the confetti to the left, sticking in Rylee’s hair and gown. But how cool did these pictures turn out! Also, kudos to Rylee for tracking down a cap and gown. Kickapoo just switched to all gold gowns this past year which made the pool of graduates we could borrow from slim. Thank you to Rylee’s friend who loaned her the cap and gown so we could take some stellar shots!!
In the background, music was blaring. Families were playing soccer. Kids were running around. There were walkers on the trails. In spite of all the craziness, that sunset was spectacular. It was at the very end that I realized Rylee’s signature pose which gave me my favorite shot of the whole session. Looking down her shoulder. Rylee, this picture made you look absolutely beautiful!!! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to capture memories for your senior year. Thank you for putting up with my thousands of prompts and directions ;) I had a blast and I hope you love these photos as much as I do.
Rylee, Class of 2021